Remembering Pearl HarborEvery December 7 at Pearl Harbor, there is a memorial to those who died in the awful attacks that day in 1941. Survivors gather here, though fewer every year remain alive. Oil still rises from where the USS Arizona lies in the harbor. The horrific events of December 7 are still a raw part of the history here. Several months ago, the civil defense sirens went off all over Oahu. It was a glitch in the system, but I remember an elderly woman in downtown Honolulu who said she looked at the sky because she remembers when there really was an air raid, and the sirens bring her back to that time of eminent danger when what seemed impossible unfolded in front of her young eyes. For history buffs, students, and all sorts of tourists, this is a "must visit" National Park on Oahu. Tickets to take the boat to the memorial are cheap (but do require an advanced booking of a couple days), and there are several other activities and museums at Pearl Harbor to explore including a walk through the USS Bowfin.
Once an oyster-farming backwater, this area was nicknamed the Island of Attraction and was held sacred to the shark goddess Kaahupahau. But it's forever etched into America's psyche due to the 1941 Japanese surprise attack on the naval base, which launched the U.S. into WWII's Pacific Theater. Today, around 1.6 million visitors pay their respects annually at the museums and memorials, which include the USS Bowfin, the USS Missouri and the wreck of the USS Arizona. Buy tickets online to avoid the inevitable long wait.